Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Hard Days Night in Tunisia

I've been off the MCR jam scene for ages now. Last year and the year before I used to go probably every other week or so to the 'All That Jazz' jam at The Arch Bar in Hulme and Po Na Nas when it was happening. The All That Jazz jam has had mixed fortunes over the years as detailed on some earlier posts on this blog. There's been all sorts of rumour mill about what happened but sadly this jam has been shut down since about November of last year. It's a real shame as The Arch Bar was under new management and they'd done the place up nicely with new sofas and even provided a decent PA for the vocalists. However, the council stepped in due to noise issues and installed a noise limiter. This basically cuts the power to the stage and PA if the volume level goes above a certain point for more than a few seconds. When I was based in London playing in a funk band we played at a venue in Camden Town called 'WKD' that had one of these and they do seem to be set to very low volume levels.

Anyway, so in Manchester we seem to have three jazz jams now; a latin jam at Lamarrs every Wednesday run by Kirsty Almeida, Ed Kainyek's straight ahead jazz Jam Session at The Kings Arms in Salford also every Wednesday and a monthly one at Matt and Phreds. I decided to give the latin one a go last night, not that I'm especially into latin jazz but thought it would be worth a try. Turned out to be a tough evening and left me quite dispirited. I went down there on my own and didn't really know anyone apart from Richard Iles who I don't know that well. We chatted briefly but he was playing in the house band and with a bunch of other people. I had to wait a while to get a shot as well. First track wasn't too bad but my playing was a little shaky and my timing wasn't great. Next was 'Oye Como Va', a simple tune but the vibe in the group didn't really allow me to have a shot at improv so that was disappointing. Then a couple of other guys got up and went into the standard 'A Night in Tunisia'. At this point I crashed and burned and had to step out. I left feeling a bit like a useless beginner sadly. I guess it's par for the course and to be expected as I've still got lots to learn in the jazz sphere and I'm clearly not match fit playing live inevitably. Nevertheless it was a bit saddening so I've gotta make sure it doesn't knock me back too much. It's frustrating when you know you can play well but feel like you can't play anything.

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